Before I even get started on these road tests, I have to make it very clear that this is not a comparative test in any way.
We just happened to have both Honda’s new sporty offerings in the Civic Type R and Jazz Sport at the office at the same time.
And you would have to be rather thick to even think that these two cars live in the same world. One is a record breaking hardcore track focused machine and the other a slightly sportier version of a very meek road car.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is the name Honda.
Let’s start with the Civic Type R, because this is by far one of the more controversial cars I have tested in some time, and when the road test results were posted online, I got flamed all over the place and accused of not knowing what I am doing, and that I need to learn to drive.
The Civic Type R is the current fastest front wheel driven standard production car around the 20.832 km, 73 turn (33 left, 40 right) Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of just 7 minutes 43.80 seconds.
For the number pundits, that is 3.39 seconds faster than the Golf GTI Clubsport S and a full 6.83 seconds faster than the previous-generation Type R.
Spin it anyway you like, the Civic Type R is a razor-sharp piece of kit that can carve up any track or mountain pass faster than any other hot hatch out there, and many supercars at the same time.
But as I say this, there are few points to bear in mind here before you go clubbing your GTI driving neighbour to death in celebration of this record.
The Type R that set the record was said to be a preproduction development vehicle that Honda claims was “technically representative of production specification.”
It also ran on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres versus the production model Continental ContiSportContact 6 tyres our test car had on. It was also said that for safety purposes, a full floating roll cage was added to the car, but it allegedly did not add any extra rigidity to the vehicle.
The added weight of the cage was offset by the removal of the display audio system and rear seats.
So maybe, just maybe, the Honda Civic Type R you go and buy from your local dealer, might not quite do a 7:43.
And this brings me to the second part of the road test, the straight-line figures. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection, VTEC variable valve timing and lift control, turbocharged engine produces the same 228 kW at 6 500 rpm, coupled to a torque peak of 400 Nm, maintained between 2 500 and 4 500 rpm.
The car is not short of power, that’s for sure, and the slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox is an absolute treat but getting the Type R off the line in a hurry is impossible.
I used the launch control exactly as instructed, I even watched some videos from guys overseas that have launched the car, but our local test car was having none of it.
It would dial in the set 3 500 rpm, but the moment you dropped the clutch, the rpm would drop to idle and begin its journey back to 7 000 rpm from there.
Try what I could, there was no way I was ever going to get the claimed 5.8 seconds to 100 km/h, and came in at 6.4 seconds instead, while running a 14.42 second quarter mile and a 215 km/h 1km speed and a 261 km/h top speed.
And that’s when the keyboard warriors attacked, but I stand by my figures until I am given a car that can launch.
But if you understand that the Honda Civic Type R is all about going fast in the twisties, a real purist driving tool, then you will get what this car is all about and just how special it is.
And with the new comfort mode added to the suspension settings, the car makes for a far better everyday car too, and at R627 900 with a five-year/200 000 km warranty and five-year/90 000 km service plan, it is well worth considering.
Now I did say that this is in no way a comparative test, but I do have to just leave this here. While the Honda Jazz Sport is more about looks than go and runs a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated direct injection engine that produces only 97 kW at 6 600 rpm and 155 Nm at 4 600 rpm, it did beat the Type R off the line to 20 km/h with its CVT gearbox (says all you need to know about the Type R launch control).
Obviously from there the performance is adequate for what the car is, and the performance numbers are largely irrelevant, in that it gets to the quarter mile in 18.21 seconds, the 1km at 165.46 km/h with 179 km/h and 185 km/h showing on the clock.
Like I said this is a Jazz that is mostly about looks, and the pictures tell you all you need to know.
The Jazz Sport retails for R310 000 and this includes a fiveyear/200 000 km warranty and a four-year/60 000 km service plan.
This is the same price as the Jazz Dynamic CVT it replaces, so if you are after a Jazz with a bit of attitude, look no further than the Sport.